Penalties for dangerous drivers, and those who use mobile phones while behind the wheel, have been increased in a bid to deter motorists from breaking the law.
The fine for using a phone while in control of a vehicle has been raised to £90 from the original £60, the government announced today. Fines for speeding and ignoring a red light have also been increased by 50%,
A new penalty of three penalty points and a GBP90 fine will also be introduced for a number of careless driving offences, including cutting up other drivers, eating a sandwich or lighting a cigarette at the wheel, driving at an inappropriate speed and needlessly hogging the middle lane on a motorway.
New drug-driving laws will also be introduced, and the current drink-drive limit will not be lowered.
More than a million drivers have been convicted of using a hand-held mobile phone behind the wheel since 2003, when using one other than for making an emergency call was made illegal.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “With both texting and hand-held use of mobile phones at the wheel causing more impairment than being at the drink-drive limit or under the influence of cannabis, the police need to target the large number of motorists continuing to flout the law.”
Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) director of policy Neil Greig adds: “An increase in fixed penalty levels is needed to maintain the deterrent effect. But the fear of getting caught is the key to changing driver behaviour and high profile policing must be a top priority. Any income from new fines should be put back into road safety to counter recent spending cuts.”